Exploring Circuits and Optimum Power

Solar Mobile
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Intended Grade Level(s):
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students build series circuits using grain of wheat bulband LEDs powered by various low voltage solar panels.
  1. Students build parallel circuits using grain of wheat and LED bulbs powered by various low voltage solar panels.

  2. Students demonstrate and draw the energy transfer using solar energy.

  3. Students draw a circuit diagram of their final optimal circuit.

  4. Students design an optimal circuit model that will be used in their final project. 

Lesson Number:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Files Associated with this Activity:

This lesson is an exploratory learning cycle that will give the instructor input as to where students are in their understanding of circuits and also scaffolds student learning. This lesson starts by engaging students by using an Energy Stick. Then, students start by working with small lamps and LEDs to build simple series and parallel circuits. Students then move on to testing motors with propellers and then add a battery pack to the circuit. In the end, students should build a circuit that they feel will be the best for their future mobile aircraft. 

Other Material(s) Used:
LED • Grain of Wheat bulbs • Leads • 2v, 1.5v, and .5v solar panels • Simple switch • Work lights • AA batteries • AA battery holder • 2 motors • • Light stand with 60W incandescent bulb • 2 propellers with 2mm opening • Circuit diagram